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Is That a Stretch?

Know when to expand outside your geographical area.

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This story appears in the May 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Jeremy Wunsch never planned to expand beyond Minneapolis. "I started in my basement and thought that was where the company would stay," says the founder and CEO of LuciData, which sells data products and services to aid forensic investigations and protect intellectual property. But when Wunsch, 34, got serious inquiries from prospects in Denver, he changed his mind about geographic expansion. "I was losing business because I didn't have a local presence," says Wunsch, who opened a Denver office in 2004. Today, with eight employees and $1.8 million in annual sales, the 4-year-old firm is looking at East Coast and California markets.

Most entrepreneurs whose companies grow significantly are forced to reach out to new geographic markets, says Fred Kiesner, professor of entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. To do it right, consider these tips.

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